Friday, April 19

CAPE TOWN: BUY HERE: Our insider’s guide to University Estate

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Large homes on big plots are available at good prices in this convenient suburb, which offers easy access to UCT, Groote Schuur, the city and major shopping centres. It has a great sense of community and is within walking distance of schools and park

University Estate, just off De Waal Drive on the slopes of Devil’s Peak above Woodstock as one enters the City Bowl area, is a sought-after neighbourhood for its excellent access to the CBD, UCT, Groote Schuur Hospital and the airport and various freeways.

“Primarily a residential area, the suburb is renowned for large homes on big plots, still at affordable prices compared to what’s on offer in the City Bowl. “Many properties enjoy fabulous mountain and harbour views and one can also access mountain trails,” says George Clelland of Seeff in Woodstock.

“There are schools within walking distance in Woodstock, such as Mountain Road Primary and Queen’s Park High. There is also easy access to schools in the City Bowl, as well as in Rondebosch, for top-class government and private institutions.”

The suburb is renowned for large homes on big plots, still at affordable prices compared to the City Bowl. – Seeff Woodstock’s George Clelland Picture: Supplied

Open spaces abound, ideal for families and dog walks, and residents make use of the “quarry” field and park at the intersection of Rhodes Avenue and Haig Road, frequented by youngsters. Junaid Fester has always lived in the area.

It’s the sense of community which strikes a chord with him: “It sounds clichéd but this is an area you can really go down the street and ask to borrow cup of sugar from a neighbour.

“Generations of families live here and, because of the proximity to the city’s amenities, many of us want to stay. There’s a huge historic significance to this area, a sort of extension of District Six.”

University Estate is close to Gardens Shopping Centre, not far from the V&A Waterfront and the attractions of the city and the Atlantic seaboard. It also has easy access to southern suburbs shopping areas.

University Estate offers excellent affordability for such a top-class location. It tends to attract younger people, with about 60% of buyers under 35. Homeowners tend to hold on to their properties, so it is a low turnover area, with only a few annual property sales.

The view from Rhodes Avenue, University Estate. There are many older houses and big stands. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency (ANA)

Last year, for example, there were only seven freehold sales. “Average prices range from R2.8 million to R3.2m but properties go for R3m to R11m, varying from unrenovated three-bedroom houses to palatial homes, which offer six beds, six baths and spectacular views.

“On the rental front, there are few properties. They tend to be the older, original, three-bed, one-bath homes which rent out at about R14000 a month,” says Clelland.

Junaid Fester’s favourite places and things to do

It sounds clichéd, but you can go down the street and ask to borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbour. – Junaid Fester, resident Picture: Supplied

1 Outdoors

Table Mountain is an obvious choice for magnificent walks. A short drive around the corner is Rhodes Memorial from where you can hike up to the blockhouse, Woodstock Cave or, if you are feeling energetic, take the Mowbray Ridge route up Devil’s Peak. Do not go without someone with who knows the route. Tips: never hike alone, take enough water, tell someone where you are going and take a fully-charged cellphone. For professional guiding, call 083 953 3056.

2 Learn

The Cape Town Science Centre was established in 2000, tasked with exciting young people about science and offering educational services to pupils and teachers from across Africa. The centre boasts more than 180 hands-on exhibits, offers a broad selection of activities and the most sophisticated camera obscura in Southern Africa. 0213003200

SCIENCE IN ACTION The nearby Cape Town Science Centre has demonstrations to educate pupils. Picture: Supplied

3 Eat

If you’re looking for a local institution, the District Café has to be a stop. In one family for three generations, it provided wholesome foods before the existing premises were built. The Halaal smoked ribs and fillet burgers are hits (021 447 3444).

Rhodes Memorial Restaurant and Tea Garden on the northern slopes of Table Mountain offers one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the Cape Flats through to the Helderberg. Bookings are essential for public holidays and weekends (021 687 0000).

4 Drink

Don’t be fooled by the service station location – Bubbles Waffles at the Total Garage in Lower Main Road makes some of the finest milkshakes and waffles in the city.

5 Shop

Albert Road, in nearby Woodstock, is home to a number of designer and boutique shopping experiences.

Salt Circle Arcade is not to be missed if you are on a shopping spree. There’s a food court and a great courtyard which is suitable for functions. On offer is a great selection of books, freshly-baked produce, designer furniture and an added bonus is on-site parking.  

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